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grace, and then use what instrument thou pleasest, of bringing me to thee. Lord, I am not solicitous of the passage, so I may get to thee. Only, O Lord, remember my infirmities, and let thy servant rejoice in thee always, and feel and confess, and glory in thy goodness. O be thou as delightful to me in this my medicinal sickness, as ever thou wert in any. of the dangers of my prosperity: let me not peevishly refuse, thy.pardon at the rate of a severe discipline. I am thy ser-, vant and thy creature, thy purchased possession, and thy son;
I am all thine: and because thou hast mercy in store for all, that trust in thee, I cover mine eyes, and in silence wait for the time of my redemption. Amen.
A Prayer for the grace of Patience. Most merciful and gracious Father, who, in the redemption of lost mankind by the passion of thy: most holy Son, hast established a covenant of sufferings, I bless and magnify thy name, that thou hast adopted me into the inherit-, ance of sons, and hast given me a portion of my elder brother. Lord, the cross falls heavy and sits uneasy upon my shoulders; my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak: I humbly beg of thee, that I may now rejoice in this thy dispensation and effect of providence. I know and am persuaded, that thou art then as gracious, when thou smitest us for amendment or trial, as when thou relievest our wearied bodies, in compliance with our infirmity. I rejoice, O Lord, in thy rare and mysterious mercy, who, by. sufferings, hast turned our misery into advantages unspeakable: for so thou makest us like to thy Son, and givest us a gift, that the angels never did receive: for they cannot die in conformity to, and imitation of, their Lord and ours; but, blessed be thy name, we can; and, dearest Lord, let it be so. Amen.
Thou, who art the God of patience and consolation, strengthen me in the inner man, that I may bear the yoke and burden of the Lord without any uneasy and useless murmurs and ineffective unwillingness. Lord, I am unable to stand under the cross, unable of myself: but thou, O holy Jesus, who didst feel the burden of it, who didst sink under it, and wert pleased to admit a man to bear part of the load,
when thou underwentest all for him, be thou pleased to ease this load by fortifying my spirit, that I may be strongest when I am weakest, and may be able to do and suffer every thing thou pleasest, through Christ, who strengthens me. Lord, if thou wilt support me, I will for ever praise thee: if thou wilt suffer the load to press me yet more heavily, I will cry unto thee, and complain unto my God; and at last I will lie down and die, and by the mercies and intercession of the holy Jesus, and the conduct of thy blessed Spirit, and the ministry of angels, pass into those mansions, where holy souls rest, and weep no more. Lord, pity me; Lord, sanctify this my sickness; Lord, strengthen me; holy Jesus, save me, and deliver me. Thou knowest, how shamefully I have fallen with pleasure: in thy mercy and very pity, let me not fall with pain too. O let me never charge God foolishly, nor of. fend thee by my impatience and uneasy spirit, nor weaken the hands and hearts of those, that charitably minister to my needs : but let me pass through the valley of tears and the valley of the shadow of death with safety and peace, with a meek spirit and a sense of the Divine mercies: and though thou breakest me in pieces, my hope is, thou wilt gather me up in the gatherings of eternity. Grant this, eternal God, gracious Father, for the merits and intercession of our merciful high-priest, who once suffered for me, and for ever intercedes for me, our most gracious and ever-blessed Saviour Jesus.
A Prayer to be said, when the sick man takes Physic.
O most blessed and eternal Jesus, thou, who art the great physician of our souls, and the Sun of Righteousness arising with healing in thy wings, to thee is given by thy heavenly Father the government of all the world, and thou disposest every great and little accident to thy Father's honour, and to the good and comfort of them, that love and serve thee : be pleased to bless the ministry of thy servant in order to my ease and health, direct his judgment, prosper the medicines, and dispose the chances of my sickness fortunately, that I may feel the blessing and loving-kindness of the Lord in the ease of my pain and the restitution of my health : that I, being restored to the society of the living, and to thy solemn assemblies, may praise thee and thy goodness, secretly
among the faithful, and in the congregation of thy redeemed ones, here in the outer-courts of the Lord, and hereafter in thy eternal temple for ever and ever. Amen.
Of the practice of the grace of Faith in the time of Sickness.
Now is the time, in which the faith appears most necessary, and most difficult. It is the foundation of a good life, and the foundation of all our hopes: it is that, without which we cannot live well, and without which we cannot die well: it is a grace that then we shall need to support our spirits, to sustain our hopes, to alleviate our sickness, to resist temptation, to prevent despair; upon the belief of the articles of our religion, we can do the works of a holy life; but upon belief of the promises, we can bear our sickness patiently, and die cheerfully. The sick man may practise it in the following instances.
1. Let the sick man be careful, that he do not admit of any doubt concerning that, which he believed and received from a common consent in his best health and days of election and religion. For if the devil can but prevail so far as to unfix and unrivet the resolution and confidence or fulness of assent, it is easy for him so to unwind the spirit, that from why to whether or no, from whether or no to scarcely not, from scarcely not to absolutely not at all, are steps of a descending and falling spirit: and whatsoever a man is made to doubt of by the weakness of his understanding in a sickness, it will be hard to get an instrument strong or subtle enough to reinforce and insure: for when the strengths are gone, by which faith held, and it does not stand firm by the weight of its own bulk and great constitution, nor yet by the cordage of a tenacious root; then it is prepared for a ruin, which it cannot escape in the tempests of a sickness and the assaults of a devil. Discourse and argument, the line of tradition, and a never-failing experience, the Spirit of God, and the truth of miracles, the word of prophecy, and the blood of martyrs, the excellency of the doctrine, and the necessity of men, the riches of the promises, and the
wisdom of the revelations, the reasonableness and sublimity, the concordance and the usefulness, of the articles, and their compliance with all the needs of man, and the government of commonwealths, are like the strings and branches of the roots, by which faith stands firm and unmoveable in the spirit and understanding of a man. But in sickness, the understanding is shaken, and the ground is removed in which the root did grapple, and support its trunko; and therefore there is no way now, but that it be left to stand
the old confidences, and by the firmament of its own weight: it must be left to stand, because it always stood there before: and as it stood all his life-time in the ground of understanding, so it must now be supported with will, and a fixed resolutiond.: But disputation tempts it, and shakes it with trying, and overthrows it with shaking. Above all things in the world, let the sick man fear a proposition, which his sickness hath put into him contrary to the discourses of health and a sober untroubled reason.
2. Let the sick man mingle the recital of his creed together with his devotions, and in that let him account his faith; not in curiosity and factions, in the confessions of parties and interests e: for some over-forward zeals are so earnest to profess their little and uncertain articles, and glory so to die in a particular and divided communion, that, in the profession of their faith, they lose or discompose their charity. Let it be enough, that we secure our interest of heaven, though we do not go about to appropriate the mansions to our sect: for every good man hopes to be saved, as he is a Christian,
Non jam validis radicibas hærens, Pondere fixa suo—. & Sanctiúsque ac reverentias visom de actis Deorum credere quàm scire.--Tacit.
€ Fides tua te salvum faciet : non exercitatio Scripturarum. Fides in regula posita est ; (scil. in Symbolo quod jam recitaverat) habet legem, et salatem de observatione legis : Exercitatio autem in curiositate consistit, habens gloriam solam de peritiæ studio. Cedat curiositas Fidci; cedat Gloria Salati.-Tert. de præscript. St, Angustinus vocat Symbolum comprehensionem Fidei veslræ atqne perfectionem; Cordis signaculum, et nostræ militiæ sacramentum. Amb. lib. ij. de Veland. Virgio. Aug. serm. 115. Non per difficiles nos Deus ad beatam vitam quæstiones vo
In absoluto nobis et facili est æternitas ; Jesam suscitatum à mortuis per Deum credere, et ipsam esse Dominum confiteri.-St. Hilar. lib. 10. de Trinit. Hæc est fides Catholica, de Symbolo suo dixit Athanasius, vel quiconque author est St. Athanas. de fido Nicepa.
Γαρ εν αυτή παρά των πατέρων κατά τας θείας γραφάς ομολογηθείσα πίστις αυτάρκης รร προς ανατροπήν μεν πάσης ασεβείας, σύστασιν δε της ευσεβείας εν Χριστώ.
Ep. ad Epict.
and not as he is a Lutheran, or of another division. However, those articles, upon which he can build the exercise of any virtue in his sickness, or upon the stock of which he can improve his present condition, are such as consist in the greatness and goodness, the veracity and mercy, of God through Jesus Christ; nothing of which can be concerned in the fond disputations, which faction and interest hath too long maintained in Christendom.
3. Let the sick man's faith especially be active about the promises of grace, and the excellent things of the gospel : those, which can comfort his sorrows, and enable his patience : those, upon the hopes of which he did the duties of his life, and for which he is not unwilling to die; such as the intercession and advocation of Christ, remission of sins, the resurrection, the mysterious arts and mercies of man's redemption, Christ's triumph over death, and all the
powers of hell, the covenant of grace, or the blessed issues of repentance; and, above all, the article of eternal life, upon the strength of which, eleven thousand virgins went cheerfully together to their martyrdom, and twenty thousand Christians were burned by Dioclesian on a Christmas-day, and whole armies of Asian Christians offered theinselves to the tribunals of Arius Antonius, and whole colleges of severe persons were instituted, who lived upon religion, whose dinner was the eucharist, whose supper was praise, and their nights were watches, and their days were labour; for the hope of which, then, men counted it gain to lose their estates, and gloried in their sufferings, and rejoiced in their
persecutions, and were glad at their disgraces. This is the article, that hath made all the martyrs of Christ confident and glorious; and if it does not more than sufficiently strengthen our spirits to the present suffering, it is because we understand it not, but have the appetites of beasts and fools. But if the sick man fixes his thoughts, and sets his habitation to dwell here, he swells his hope, and masters his fears, and eases his sorrows, and overcomes his temptations.
4. Let the sick man endeavour to turn his faith of the articles into the love of them: and that will be an excellent instrument, not only to refresh his sorrows, but to confirm his faith in defiance of all temptations. For a sick man and a disturbed understanding are not competent and fit instru